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Is Art just ego?

Art is often indicative of our approach to dharma.

Do we for example dismiss avant garde Jazz, Opera, reggae, world or ambient music because it is 'just noise'?

Do we accept temple music, zen poetry, sand gardens, flamboyant lamas, mandalas etc as higher forms of innate expression?

Nothing of value in contemporary art?

Is artistic cooking, fashion and other artistic expression irrelevant to dharma or important to our social well being and integration as non uniformed aka lay dharmaists?
:scratch: .

Earthninja
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Comments

  • I think like most everything, it is a matter of how one relates to their creation (whether a song or a painting or a bowl). If someone has the attitude of "this is MINE! It belongs to ME!" then that is an example of clinging that will lead to suffering. If one can create a work of art and just set it free, I think it can be a liberating force of the divine creativity of the universe. (that is, the re-creation that occurs at every moment).

    Jeffrey
  • Most "good" art comes from some mental place. I know as an artist, I don't make anything without some idea in mind. So I guess, yes its personal but it is also something physical,2d or 3d, that other people can latch onto. In fact, the best art, you're not supposed to understand right away cause good art has layers of meaning, not just one. contemporary, in fact, like to break conventional rules( and mediums as well) to get people to think outside the box some. It doesn't mean you have to stay outside of the box when you realize it, but at least you are able to bring another perspective back with you. Keith Harring and Jean Mitchell Baisqut(sp?) both drew complicated yet simple things, but still managed to change the art scene, as well as, the community's thought of art.

    in a sense, Meditation is an artform. We all use our own tools and process to find ways to explore ourself and our surroundings.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Don't dismiss anything, just see it for what it is like @thegoldeneternity‌ said.

    If what your trying to do is from the egoic standpoint it is a the same. Zen poetry or heavy metal. What difference does it make.

    I would say as we realise who we are we would naturally change. Why try change things from the ego?

    Enjoy whatever art you enjoy! Just do our best to be aware of who is actually enjoying it.

    Who would want to live on a blank rock?
    That's not life.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited September 2014

    . :coffee: .. Does Martial Arts come into the mix ? I think that once mastered it becomes doing without a doer

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/stage-and-theatre/10540080/Monks-display-makes-WearableArt-martial

    . :) ..

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited September 2014

    I could see how self expression could seem counter intuitive from the perspective of no-self but if there really was no self, there would also be no difference in views.

    Because there is a difference in views we express views and learn to see from different angles other than the one(s) we experience directly.

    Art is just a bridge between that which we perceive as me and you.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Nature is the best form of art.

    Earthninja
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Nature is the best form of art.

    True, but then nature is all inclusive.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I meant that I'd rather look at an actual sunset than a painting of a sunset.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I know and I hear ya... I'm the same way but it's easy to nurture compassion for a sunset.

    That post was as more of a reminder for myself, I'd reckon.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Art is like anything else -- you fake it until it becomes real.

    コチシカ
  • edited September 2014

    .... The title of the song is Art Isn't Real, which is a loose connection to the topic at hand. I thought the title would show but apparently it doesn't, making the loose connection completely non-existent. Yes it was a bit of a stretch to begin with.... :D .

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Art of the Brick in London....

    lobster...have you been to seen this yet? .. :clap: ...

    I think you'll like it .. :) ..

    http://artofthebrick.co.uk/

  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Art is often indicative of our approach to dharma.

    Do we for example dismiss avant garde Jazz, Opera, reggae, world or ambient music because it is 'just noise'?

    Do we accept temple music, zen poetry, sand gardens, flamboyant lamas, mandalas etc as higher forms of innate expression?

    Nothing of value in contemporary art?

    Is artistic cooking, fashion and other artistic expression irrelevant to dharma or important to our social well being and integration as non uniformed aka lay dharmaists?
    :scratch: .

    Art always has a certain amount ot Ego involved. It's inescapable for all save a Buddha. Buddhas turn the Wheel of Dharma; they don't paint the Cistine Chapel.

    robot
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @lobster

    Is Art just ego?

    Since the Ego is a work of karmic art, perhaps you have that question ass backwards......

    but....

    ..I find it more useful to look at art as a Dharmic mirror that reflects what ever ego or egolessness that one happens to be fostering in it's presence.

    Mostly I think of them as two separate ingredients where their mixing and those proportions are simply determined by the attachments that we foster.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Art can be a stimulus to meditation. Mandalas, for example. Music can open our hearts, thus going beyond ego, and put us in a meditative inspired bliss state. I'm inclined to say that the noisier genres, like avant garde jazz, acid rock, and the like, would be a lot less inclined to do that, and so are more ego-based. But different people hear different things in music, so I may be incorrect in my assessment.

    Anything can be a basis for ego-clinging. Almost anything can also serve as Buddhist practice and a gateway to experiencing the True Self, or ego-free state. The choice is ours.

    Jeffreyコチシカ
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Here's some nice ego-free art: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/

  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Is Art just ego?

    What better use of the impulse to ego? It's possible that Ego is an art, too.

  • @how said:

    ..I find it more useful to look at art as a Dharmic mirror that reflects what ever ego or egolessness that one happens to be fostering in it's presence.

    Indeed.
    We could say that about anything.

    Can expressions enable or enhance our capacity to trancend reflections that are complicit ego participation by complicity of artist and audience.

    For example what art form will enhance our understanding of emptiness as form, metta or compassion, enlightenment etc?

    Do these components exist in all phenomena dependent on our relationship to them or can art trigger our capacity to understand?
    vimeo.com/72711715

    :vimp: .

  • Buddhist Geeks did a interview that might interest some of you guys. "Empty Art" Ep 332

  • @bravehawk said:
    Buddhist Geeks did a interview that might interest some of you guys. "Empty Art" Ep 332

    Can you post a link?

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2014

    Can you see the Buddha? It's a fractal image:
    http://i.imgur.com/fmUD8l4.jpg

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Here's some nice ego-free art: http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/

    >

    That is breathtaking, actually, isn't it....?

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Can you see the Buddha? It's a fractal image:
    http://i.imgur.com/fmUD8l4.jpg

    Ah, the Buddhabrot set, nice.

  • I don't really understand the OP's question. Why would art or music inherently be ego? It sounds like there are some assumptions being made that I'm not aware of.

    HamsakaJeffrey
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Me too @Dakini, but think about it, when is there ever NOT assumptions? Assumptions are the mortar of samsara. Art is just art, and calling it 'empty' or in some other way 'appropriately Buddhist' just illuminates more assumptions already made.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dakini said:
    I don't really understand the OP's question. Why would art or music inherently be ego? It sounds like there are some assumptions being made that I'm not aware of.

    >

    Actually, I understand the OP's question perfectly well.
    Ask yourself: Do you really think that if you were to ask an Artist what his work was about, he - or she - would ever reply "Nothing at all, it's just a load of random stuff thrown together, I have no idea at all what it's supposed to be saying, here....IS it meant to be saying something? I didn't know that....."

    An artist will either try to explain the deep, meaningful hidden emotion, secreted between the folds of self-expression, or will archly and enigmatically state that it's for you, the viewer to decide what it means to YOU, the viewer....But then tell an artist you think it's a load of pretentious crap, and see what they say....

    howlobster
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Have you watched any of the deep dives on youtube?

  • @federica said:
    An artist will either try to explain the deep, meaningful hidden emotion, secreted between the folds of self-expression, or will archly and enigmatically state that it's for you, the viewer to decide what it means to YOU, the viewer....But then tell an artist you think it's a load of pretentious crap, and see what they say....

    I've worked with a lot of artists, and haven't run into one who says that, yet. They say they're portraying their ethnic traditions or history, they're portraying nature, scenic elements in their hometown, landscapes, skyscapes, whatever. Some, when you talk to them at length, talk about a trance state they get into, where the inspiration flows through them. That sounds like egolessness, to me. Getting the ego out of the way, and allowing art to happen of its own accord.

    It sounds like you're probably thinking about abstract art. In that case, you might be right.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Dakini said:They say they're portraying their ethnic traditions or history, they're portraying nature, scenic elements in their hometown, landscapes, skyscapes, whatever.

    >

    No, that's their interpretation, not a portrayal....and whenever anyone depicts an existent original, they interpret it through their own Ego, absolutely. No two artists will depict the same landscape, in the same way - so the style has evolved through their own preference of expression...

    Some, when you talk to them at length, talk about a trance state they get into, where the inspiration flows through them. That sounds like egolessness, to me.

    >

    (I won't tell you what I think it sounds like....! :D . )
    Inspiration still needs interpreting through a personal outlet, and that personal outlet is the Ego....

    Getting the ego out of the way, and allowing art to happen of its own accord.

    Utterly Impossible. Completely.
    I used to run an Art Gallery, (for about 6 years) and we had all sorts of exhibits there, from Abstract right across the range to total realism. I don't remember any Artist coming in and standing back and saying nothing about their work. They all had some wonderful, deep comment to make... (I am ashamed to say I thought the majority of them were pretentious twits....)

    howlobsterShoshin
  • Thanks guys,

    If we wish to understand certain ideas for example metta, how best to depict or explore? I would suggest leaving out the egoic is possible, even though expression is normally part of the motivation. If we went to look for this metta quality in a gallery what would we find?

    Perhaps metta also has a sound expression? A poem?

  • Here is the link to Empty Art from Buddhist Geeks

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2014/09/emptiness-art/

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited September 2014

    I do painting and for me it is more a way to experience my own mind than a venue for producing good art. I usually only paint when I am having mania....and I use it as awareness as an outlet. I think art is a good chance to feel your senses. Perhaps there are chakras such as the sacral and ajna that are stimulated. Mental health including the bodies energies is a good thing and art is an aid to healing.

    Shoshin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @ourself said:
    Have you watched any of the deep dives on youtube?

    Wow!

    David
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Here's something sort of similar:

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Dakini said:

    Yes, it does seem like ego gets in the way of great art.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Wow!

    The thing about the Mandelbrot set is the only artistic license lies in the coloration of the levels. Other than that, it wasn't made but discovered.

  • flowdriftflowdrift New
    edited September 2

    I see how the question comes up because the interest in creating and expressing ties so closely to the interest in affirming the strength of one's self and the value of one's abilities and ideas. But I don't think art is just ego. Artistic and other expression can be done with the intention of serving other interests. As long as something else is intended with the art it doesn't have to just be an ego trip.

  • Examples? Also this thread is a zombie thread. Dead? That is what necro means … oh and welcome to NewDada … eh … NewBuddhism 🦞

    Jeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    It’s definitely true that ego helps a great artist propel himself into the public eye. Especially in modern art, it means for someone like Rothko or Jackson Pollock to present his particular style as an advance in “art” requires courage and chutzpah.

  • The birds have vanished into the sky,

    and now the last cloud drains away.

    We sit together, the mountain and I,

    until only the mountain remains.

    • Li Po
    lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 2

    @コチシカ said:
    The birds have vanished into the sky,

    and now the last cloud drains away.

    We sit together, the mountain and I,

    until only the mountain remains.

    • Li Po

    Is this intended for this thread, or were you intending to post in the No Buddhist Quotes thread?

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It depends, again, what is meant by Ego. Certainly, if I remember my Art studies correctly, most artists were never wealthy during their lifetimes, so why the obsession to paint canvas after canvas...? And some had peculiarities to their characters which bordered on mental disturbances.
    You only have to look at Francis Bacon, or Van Gogh, and perhaps Picasso and certainly Salvador Dali, to know that there is "temperament" behind the brush...

    lobster
  • @lobster said:
    Examples? 🦞

    I can think of a couple of examples. For instance, a writer might create a story where the point of the work is to bring awareness to certain values, like the importance of compassion or the problem with seeking material rewards, and the effect of the work would be to point readers to concerns beyond building an ego.

    I've also seen seen films that struck me as being relatively selfless in how they presented material. I'm thinking of some documentaries where the subject matter was essentially allowed to speak for itself and the filmmaker was fairly invisible in the presentation. At the time I thought the creators had intentionally elevated the subjects and not sought to introduce judgment, perspective and opinion. There was a doc about Ansel Adams I think where I was most impressed by that. Can't remember the name of it.

    @lobster said:
    Also this thread is a zombie thread. 🦞

    The beauty of these asynchronous discussions is that they're never dead and the exchanges can happen across years. At least it allows for a lot of think time.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @flowdrift said:... The beauty of these asynchronous discussions is that they're never dead and the exchanges can happen across years. At least it allows for a lot of think time.

    Normally we don't allow it. I will tell you that a good proportion of the previous respondents in this thread, have not been present for some consideable time; one has even died.
    When the subject matter is one that requires a direct response to the OP, it's frequently the case that the OP has long since departed and hasn't come back to post...
    In this case, the OP is very much 'present and correct' and the subject matter a general and discursive one, rather than one which requires exact and precise replies.

    I'll let it be.

  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    In this case, the OP is very much 'present and correct'

    This thread really brought home to me how long y'all been talking. Have you not got it figured out yet?

    :):p

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Probably, but opinions can change, and just like bottoms, we've all got one...

    Ren_in_black
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:

    In this case, the OP is very much 'present and correct'

    This thread really brought home to me how long y'all been talking. Have you not got it figured out yet?

    :):p

    We have a few relative newcomers too… but sometimes when I have a question, the first thing I do is use the search, because so much has been asked before.

    Ren_in_black
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Georgia Explorer

    @Jeroen said:
    We have a few relative newcomers too

    Purely a joke on my part, to be clear. Love this forum.

    Anyway, even the Buddha stuck around for years to reiterate things, did he not? =)

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Ren_in_black said:

    @Jeroen said:
    We have a few relative newcomers too

    Purely a joke on my part, to be clear. Love this forum.

    Anyway, even the Buddha stuck around for years to reiterate things, did he not? =)

    The Buddha most certainly did, although he did hesitate about teaching the dharma. It makes you wonder what about the view from nirvana was so heart-stopping.

    Ren_in_black
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